Two Crucial Steps to Take Towards Marketing and Sales Alignment
Inbound MarkAles. Inbound SaleKeting.
Hmmmm. It's hard to find the right catch-phrase to unify these two, often separate department titles now that they have so much in common, but there is one. It's smarketing. Sounds kinda smart, doesn't it?
Let's get together - yeah, yeah, yeah!
If your sales team sits on one side, or one floor, or one building at the company, and the marketing team sits on the other - it's time to re-think and re-structure the way the company thinks about inbound sales and marketing.
Wait. Come again? Did we just say inbound sales?
Yes, we did - and here's why.
Successful selling requires inbound methodology²
A quick review of yesterday's sales professionals shows how drastically things have changed since marketing went inbound.
The sales people of yore:
- Had the cool car
- Had all the information
- Were the educators
- Held most of the power
- Created boiler plate presentations that were repeatedly delivered to just about anyone
- Subscribed to a one-size-fits-all perspective about the sales process
Now, let's look at how buyers have changed. Today's buyers:
- Have mobile gadgets from which they perform endless searches
- Are expert researchers
- May know more about a specific product/service than laid-back sales folks
- Probably know more about competitors' products and services than your sales team does
- Look at sales reps as collaborative partners in the decision-making process, rather than "holders of all the information"
- Expect a sales approach as personalized to the them as the persona-based marketing strategies used to convert them into qualified leads
You can see how there's a disparate chasm forming between old sales models and current buyer expectations.
Closing that gap requires a merging of sales and marketing teams, aligning their strategies and philosophies so the buyer's journey remains connected, engaged, inspired, streamlined and - most of all - personalized.
Get together for buyer persona development
Revamping buyer personas is a very simple (and genius) way to begin forging connections between sales and marketing. Pleasing prospects and buyers, and getting high from increased conversion rates, is something both sides have in common.
Working together to further tease out niche markets, unique pain points, and talking about what works and what doesn't helps sales reps to get more familiar with inbound principles. Also, sales reps are the ones who actually speak to and connect with the real-life buyer personas, so their input is invaluable to this process.
The results of these meetings is more energized and targeted content that unifies the language a prospect/convert reads, learns and hears spoken back to them when consulting with sales reps.
Train sales to be inbound methodologists
Here's the great news about the shift towards inbound sales - there's no more fakeness, no more schmoozy spiels and no need to have all the answers at your fingertips (although you will, thanks to your CRM).
Instead, you get to train sales professionals into advisors and facilitators as they engage with active buyers. Today, the sales team's job is to:
- Relax and center.
- Study Psych 101 regarding the Buyers' Journey.
- Identify strong leads and prioritize those who are most active in the journey.
- Build trust by connecting with leads often, providing advice and facilitating their process with just-right-for-now content and info.
- Trade generic PowerPoint presentations for customized presentations that help buyers explore options based on each one's unique challenges or interests.
- Become trusted advisors, taking the sale through to the finish. Or perhaps even sending prospects elsewhere if it turns out to be the wrong fit after all.
At each step, sales reps will be turning to the marketing department, looking for just the right content, social media, campaigns, long-format resources and so on, to help them do their job well. And in turn, the marketing team will seek assistance from sales in order to create the types of tailored content required to support the sales team.
The end result are two halves of a whole, in synchronized alignment with buyers, their needs, and the Whys and Hows of their buying process.
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